St. John Tradewinds News

“Grasshopper” in Puerto Rico Veterans Hospital Starting on Road to Recovery

FRIENDS AND FANS: Friends and fans of St. John music legend Philip “Grasshopper” Pickering and longtime “Taximan” John Anthony were the focus of a lively fundraiser in Pine Peace on Saturday, April 11, sponsored by Caravan Auto ands Pine Peace Market.  Both popular island icons are experiencing health crises and the public turned out show their support.

PINE PEACE — Alvin “Jupiter” Pickering says wherever he goes these days, people stop to ask about his brother and band mate to Phillip “Grasshopper” Pickering, lead guitarist for the iconic St. John Reggae band Inner Visions.

Even as he stopped to pick up groceries from Starfish Market, a man on line leaned in to ask, “How’s Grass?”

“He’s stable and he’s in Puerto Rico,” is all that Jupiter can offer.

Puerto Rico and the Veterans Administration Hospital’s intensive care unit is the first stop on the road to recovery for Grasshopper, a military veteran. He was stricken over the Palm Sunday weekend and spent several days in intensive care at the Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas before being airlifted to Puerto Rico on April 5.

Jupiter didn’t want to say much more, in respect for Grasshopper’s privacy, except that he and his family are grateful for the community’s concern. The family is touched by the outpouring of expression for Grasshopper, he said.

Inner Visions has been producing and performing memorable reggae music since the 1980s and have grown a fan base from the Virgin Islands across the U.S. mainland with a new generation of fans on the college circuit. The band’s music has appeared in the backdrop of numerous fundraisers and benefits for St. John and St. Thomas.

Now Jupiter is asking those who wish to show their support to do so through generosity. If that can be done, he said, it will help various family members who plan to take turns spending time at Grasshopper’s bedside, watching over him.

“They can pray and they can give money,” he said.

The St. John Revolving Fund is accepting donations at Connections Secretarial Service in Cruz Bay. There is also an online Go Fund Me page on the Facebook page for Phillip Hopper Pickering that was set up by Inner Vision’s booking agent April Steyert.